Homeless in roadside encampment create problem with officials

Trash in RV roadside encampment in Hazel Dell

Distinguishing between “homeless” people living in decrepit RVs and retired fulltimers (and those working out of their RV s or who work contract jobs in changing locations) seems to be determined by where and how you do it. You do not usually find the “homeless” staying in amenity-rich RV resorts or retirees in their 40-foot motorhome camped in urban street camps like in Hazel Dell, Oregon.

Neighbors and law enforcement are frustrated by a small group of RV campers who have set up along Northeast 8th Avenue, leading to an increase in trash and even human waste near the sidewalks and road, reports KPTV Fox 12 Oregon.

One man said he’s reported the campers to authorities several times to no avail.

But in Clark County, deputies confirmed that though they’ve taken complaints along the street there’s no easy solution to get RV campers to leave. In Clark County, it’s not illegal to camp along public roads. Deputies, however, can cite unmoving vehicles as abandoned, thus opening a process where some of them can be forfeited and towed.

However, deputies say those tow companies contracted through the county are often unwilling to move the RVs, as the removal process is a cumbersome and expensive job and getting rid of the RVs afterward is also costly.

Given circumstances such as those in Laurel Dell and the difficulty in dealing with similar RV problems that seem to be increasing in urban areas, it likely will result in local authorities continuing to enact ordinances prohibiting parking overnight on city streets without a special permit – which gains general support from local residents in most areas where proposed.

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7 Thoughts to “Homeless in roadside encampment create problem with officials”

  1. PennyPA

    I also like Laurel’s suggestion of a honey wagon once or a twice a week . You’d think one of the local sewer contractors could send one of their trucks out. What little that would cost could easily fit into most city’s budgets.

  2. Sandy Frankus

    Having just spent the last week and a half traveling and boondocking I can honestly say the dumping ,fresh water and trash were a problem for us. These three things we all need to do , so why isn’t someone taking it seriously. I wonder how much local government pays to do the clean ups? Here in Portland Or. at least weekly we watch the police boot them out and then they spend a couple days cleaning it up .

  3. Glenda Alexander

    There is a village in Austin, Texas, run by Mobile Loaves and Fishes, specifically for chronically homeless people (Community First). Something like it could be developed in other cities with good results. I have visited it and was impressed with what I saw. To read more about it go to: https://mlf.org/community-first/

  4. Laurel Deveso

    I so agree! It seems heartless to further punish the downtrodden by depriving them of the only shelter they have. Most of these folk are trying to make the best of a bad situation before the officials come around to make life even worse for them. Instead of complaining to the authorities, how about offering to take them to a dump station to empty their tanks, or to get water? Or maybe the city can arrange for a honey wagon. There are better solutions than just being heartless!

    1. Captn John

      Maybe have a couple park in front of your house for a month or years?

  5. Curtis Dowds

    I have to admit to some self-interest in pursuing the discussion of the RV “homeless.” I use my RV and a dinghy for work – and occasionally to travel with my wife. I love it and it’s very effective in developing my business. However, more and more I’m encountering various forms of no parking, mostly overnight but also size and weight restrictions. It doesn’t take a whole lot of social awareness to figure out that the authorities imposing these restrictions (I’m in CA and they’re everywhere now) aren’t aiming at me or people like me who aren’t lifers, have no need for (or interest in) RV parks but need a place to stop and work and sleep. We’re just caught in the crossfire between the NIMBYs and the freaked out local politicians. Anybody who has spent time on the road in an RV understands the problem of maintaining your tanks and charging. You can solve the electrical problems with a bit of savvy but those tanks will keep getting filled if you are actually living in your RV. RV and trailer travelers who don’t want to pay for needless parks and can’t get reservations even if they’re willing need to come to grips with the dilemma of our homeless brethren. Yes, they’re probably poorer but they need a roof over their head, a place to store and cook food, and do their business. And helping them helps us long-term. We need to start pushing these local politicians to consider using unused urban-suburban spaces to create managed public RV parks with electricity, dumping, and community services like laundry and even showers and toilets. Moreover, where social services are needed, menatl health support, job search, etc., that could be delivered much more effectively if our homeless were in one place. You might even imagine architects and engineers taking a swing at a complete village. What could it cost these cities to create amenities for the “homeless” RVers that are on their streets and then manage them effectively? Almost zip. But never underestimate any longer the capacity of our society to demonize the defenseless and sweep the problems they present into the next county ….. and then the next and the next.

    1. Ed Wullschleger

      Curtis. Your ideas are a big improvement over the existing situation. I hope we can get our communities to look into how this might work. While it won’t solve all of the problems, it may be a part of the solution.

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